'Let Alaa live': Tunisians protest in solidarity with Egyptian-British activist Alaa Abdel Fattah
Tunisian activists and journalists took to the street Tuesday in support of Egyptian-British prisoner of conscience Alaa Abdel Fattah who escalated his months-long hunger strike by giving up water on Sunday.
In the capital of Tunis, dozens of activists gathered in front of Tunisia's national Journalists' Union (SNJT), calling for the release of the 40-year-old activist who was jailed in 2021 for a five-year term on charges of spreading false news.
"Let Alaa live" chanted the group of activists, adding their voices to the widespread international campaign advocating for Alaa to be freed.
Abdel Fattah has entered his third day of a water strike following over 200 days of consuming just 100 calories a day, to protest his continued detention.
He is one of the most high-profile of the thousands of political prisoners held by Egypt.
Human rights advocates said that the case against Abd el-Fattah and his continued imprisonment is unjust, and a 'reprisal' against him for being a leader of the 2011 uprising.
"We should keep speaking out loud for Alaa and any other prisoner of conscience. Any one of us could be one, someday, who knows?" Nuha Saadawi, a Tunisian journalist and activist, told The New Arab.
"It is important to keep the belief in freedom alive in this period of spiking arrests in Tunisia," added the activist who participated in the protest.
Tunisia has seen a spike in prosecutions of journalists and activists, including in military courts since Kais Saied seized wide-ranging powers last year.
Rights groups are warning of Saied's increasing use of authoritarian measures - similar to those employed under the ousted regime of Ben Ali.
Alaa Abdel Fattah has not been defeated yet, however, his family says his chances of surviving are shrinking as he enters his third day of the water strike.
"Whatever happens, I feel Alaa has won – I just hope that he is not sacrificed for it. He's in prison because he's someone that believed the world can be a better place," said Sanaa Seif Tuesday during COP27 in Egypt.
Sanaa, who has also been imprisoned in Egypt several times, flew from London to Sharm Sheikh to attend de climate summit hoping to draw more international attention to her brother's case.
Several global leaders, including UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron, have reportedly raised his case with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Al-Sisi reportedly told the French president, Emmanuel Macron, that the activist's health is "preserved" and that "the next few weeks and months will bring results."